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Full text of "news update, Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ, January 20, 2010"

Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ - News 



http://www.secucc.org/news/index.php 



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News 

Around The Conference 

Campaign For Our Future 

Celebrations 

Conference News 

Feature Focus 

Lifting Up! 

Note From Tim 

Resources 



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Featured Highlight 

Rev. Dr. Geoffry Black Visits SEC 

United Church of Christ President 
Continues Listening Tour With Stop in 
Atlanta - Feb. 5-7. 

Rev. Geoffrey Black, of the United 
Church of Christ continues ten stop 
national listening tour visiting UCC 
conferences around the U.S. Next on 
agenda is the Southeast Conference 
beginning in Pleasant Hill, TN and then 
Atlanta and Stone Mountain, GA. 

The recently elected General Minister 

and President, Rev. Geoffrey Black, of 

the United Church of Christ (UCC) 

continues a ten stop national listening 

tour visiting UCC conferences around 

the United States. Next on his agenda is 

the Southeast Conference (SEC), made up of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, 

Tennessee, and the panhandle of Florida. The Rev. Black's southeast tour will 

begin in Pleasant Hill, TN and continue on to Atlanta, GA and Stone Mountain, 

GA. The Rev. Black has taken to the road in an effort to hear first-hand from the 

diverse groups across the UCC. 

The United Church of Christ elected Rev. Geoffrey A. Black General Minister and 
President in June of 2009. Prior to that, he served as Conference Minister of the 
UCC's New York Conference for nine years. He also served as the pastor of local 
congregations, a university chaplain, and was on the staff of the UCC Office for 
Church Life and Leadership. He is a graduate of Lincoln University and Yale 
Divinity School. His ecumenical commitment, concern for equal justice, African- 
American empowerment, and community improvement have shaped Black's 
ministry in the church and in the communities in which he has lived. 

During recent listening tours, Rev. Black emphasized the theme of open 
communications by asking, "How is God calling us to better shape the United 
Church of Christ with an expectation that God's spirit is moving among us?" Black 
comes to the Southeast Conference eager to hear what its people have to say. 

The geographically dispersed SEC is rich in transformation and innovation. "The 
Southeast Conference is the mission field for the church, a unique area with 
greatest possibility for growth," states Rev. Timothy Downs, SEC Conference 
Minister. The conference strives to stay in front and remain connected with its 
five states via new emerging technology. 

Center for Progressive Renewal (CPR). The Rev. Black will serve on the advisory 
board for the Center. One of the Center's co-directors is the Rev. Cameron 
Trimble, currently an Associate Conference Minister for the Southeast 
Conference, who was recently named CEO and Executive Director of CPR. The 
Center will serve existing and future UCC congregations. It will be an 
independent, non-profit organization. "This ... gives us the means to build 
partnerships with other denominations. The center will return to a proven 
strategy: that healthy congregations give birth to new congregations," states 
Trimble. 

On deepening ecumenical partnerships the Rev. Black has commented, "You've 
heard that 'necessity is the mother of invention'? Necessity may also be the 
mother of ecumenical partnership. Most of our ecumenical partners ... are facing 
the same kind of challenges as we are in the UCC." Churches today are looking at 
hard times. The UCC is striving to be faithful to God's call in economically 




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2/3/10 7:19 PM 



Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ - News 



http://www.secucc.org/news/index.php 



challenging times, when the numbers of members in mainline denominations are 
continuing to decrease. "There is definitely a need for a church like ours. We are a 
small denomination but we are an important voice in the life of this country. I am 
a firm believer that this church has a future. We just need to reach out and take 
hold of it," states Rev. Black. 



The schedule for Rev. Black's stay in the Southeast Conference is as 
follows: 

• Friday, February 5th / 5:00pm Pleasant Hill Community UCC, Pleasant Hill, TN 
Pleasant Hill Community will host a potluck dinner in Rev. Black's honor. The 
dinner and following meeting will be open to all area UCC members. 

• Saturday, February 6th 

Atlanta, GA Rev. Black will meet with some of the SEC key leaders who are deeply 
involved in its educational ministries and extension work through new church 
starts. 

• Sunday, February 7th / 8:30am 
Victory Church, UCC, Stone Mountain, GA 

Rev. Black will bring greetings to Victory at their early service. 



• Sunday, February 7th / 10:00am 

First Congregational UCC, Atlanta, GA Join us in worship as the Rev. 

preaches the Sunday sermon. 



Black 




• Sunday, February 7th / 2:00pm 

Central Congregational UCC, Atlanta, GA 

Rev. Black will host a Listening Session, open to the public to respond to 

questions and concerns of members of the United Church of Christ from across 

the conference. 



Haiti Earthquake Appeal 

Donate Now to Provide 
Emergency Relief in Haiti. 

The United Church of Christ has 
launched an emergency appeal 
for Haiti after a major 
earthquake struck the country. 
Thousands of people are feared 
dead and countless have been 
left homeless. 

Global Ministries personnel, 

Kim, Patrick and Solomon 

Bentrott have reported in they are safe. As damage assessments are made and 

plans for relief, recovery and rehabilitation are developed, additional support will 

be shared. The need is massive. Updates will be posted at: 

http://www.ucc.org/disaster/ 

The quake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck 10 miles southwest of the 
capital just before 5pm local time on January 12. 

It is still too early to know the full extent of the damage, but One Great Hour of 
Sharing is expecting very high loss of life, widespread destruction of homes, 
schools and other buildings, and major damage to key water, electricity and road 
systems. 

One Great Hour of Sharing funds are being rushed to our Haitian partners to 
support their initial emergency response. As damage assessments are made and 
plans for relief, recovery and rehabilitation are developed, additional support will 
be shared. The need is massive. 

How You Can Help: 

1. Pray for the people of Haiti their leaders and emergency and humanitarian aid 
workers. 

2. Please help the people of Haiti by sending gifts payable to your congregation 
marked for "OGHS - Haiti Earthquake Relief with the request they be sent 



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Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ - News 



http://www.secucc.org/news/index.php 



through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries. 

3. Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo 
portion "OGHS - Haiti Earthquake Relief to Wider Church Ministries; 700 
Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115. 

OR 

Make a secure online donation to the OGHS International Disaster Relief 

fund.<https://secure3.convio.net/ucc/site/Donation2?df_id=i234& 

i234.donation=formi> 

Thank you for your compassion and support. 

Peace, 

Susan 

Susan M. Sanders 

United Church of Christ 

Minister for Global Sharing of Resources One Great Hour of Sharing 
Administrator 216-736-3210 

sanderss@ucc.org<mailto:sanderss@ucc.org> 

www.ucc.org/oghs<http://www.ucc.org/oghs> 



J 




Six Churches from the Southeast Conference join in a work camp at 
Back Bay Mission, Biloxi 

Twenty-six individuals from six UCC 
churches in the Southeast Conference 
gathered in Biloxi, Mississippi in 
November to experience and share 
God's love. The team rehabbed 
homes, cooked and served at Loaves 
and Fishes soup kitchen, distributed 
food and clothing at the Mission 
office, and helped Back Bay prepare & 
wrap Christmas gift items for the 
homeless and other needy men, 
women, and children on the Gulf 
Coast. Members of the group 
marveled at the sense of community that could bind together such a diverse 
group. Led by Connie and Bob Waidmann, Disaster Relief Coordinators for the 
Southeast Conference, the work camp was an expression of the DART (Disaster 
Assistance Relief Team) Ministries of the Conference. 

Robert Ahrendt of Pleasant Hill wrote, "Often through the years people have 
asked - How can you believe in a God you cannot see? Well, I know we saw what 
God looks like on the week of work camp. God looks like the 26 people from 
different age, ethnic, racial, educational, talent and skill level, sexual orientation, 
interest, financial levels and religious backgrounds that were part of this 
weeklong work camp. God's hands look like blisters and paint, broken fingernails, 
other body parts bruised and all over-exhausted." 

Some of the group worked on the home of an elderly couple in hopes of getting 
them back into it before Christmas. Several other homes were brought closer to 
completion. One of these is for an elderly woman who fishes with a net each day 
to give food to her neighbors and the other for a single mother of three children. 
It was a joy to meet and talk with the residents of the homes where the group 
worked. They shared their love and gratitude with members of our conference in 
many ways. 

Other work camp activities included Wednesday night worship at a neighborhood 
Missionary Baptist church, a tour of the devastation and rebuilding in New 
Orleans, and fun evenings of cards and conversation. 

Team members were from around the Conference. Churches from Atlanta 
included First Congregational United Church of Christ, Open 
Community Church UCC, and Praxis UCC, all in the Atlanta area. 
Churches from Tennessee included Church of the Savior UCC, Knoxville; 
Holy Trinity Community UCC, Nashville; and Pleasant Hill 
Community Church UCC, Pleasant Hill. 



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